We endeavour to give all our pupils the necessary skills in speaking and listening, reading and writing, within the requirements of the National Curriculum. Over the past six years we have developed a bespoke curriculum that is tailored to the individual needs of our students. Our unique curriculum uses no text books, only resources designed by us based on ‘vehicles of learning’ – the concept that separates objectives and outcomes from the ‘vehicle’ used to stimulate interest. This process has taught creative writing techniques using computer games; narrative perspectives via car chases and adjectives via The A-Team.
For those whose reading causes them (or us) concern, we provide extra help on a one-to-one basis. This Reading Intervention Programme has developed over the years into a three tier system that ensures pupils move forward with reading. All pupils are tested annually (and students receiving Intervention twice a year) as this allows us to check the effectiveness of our programme as well as to monitor all our pupils’ progress in this vital area of the curriculum. In addition, the school has an embedded literacy system and all subject teachers are trained in using active reading methods to help our pupils break down texts into sizeable ‘chunks’. An invaluable skill for exams.
In Key Stage 3 (years 7-9) pupils experience a range of literature and writing styles. We study extended class readers (at least one every year) as well as encountering Shakespeare, Chaucer, various short stories, films, adverts and a range of non-fiction. Everything we do centres on three things: reading, writing and thinking. By year 9 students will encounter external accreditations via Functional Skills English Level 1.
At Key Stage 4 pupils continue taking Functional Skills (some pupils will take it 4 times during years 10 and 11). The main focus of KS4 is, of course, GCSE English. A course we ensure has a real focus on our three areas: reading, writing and thinking. In addition, pupils will access BTEC Media Studies with the English department in KS4.